Broadband report 'lost opportunity'

Lords broadband report a lost opportunity, says Prospect

A House of Lords committee report on the future of broadband has failed to address how its vision of high speed broadband for all can become reality, Prospect has warned.

Leslie Manasseh, deputy general secretary, welcomed the aim of 'Broadband for All', produced by the Lords' communications committee, of seeing fast broadband delivered right across the UK to boost economic growth, and create much-needed jobs and social benefits.

But he said: "The report is unlikely to take us further forward in terms of delivery. It contains a mass of technical detail, which obscures the key issue of how both fast and superfast broadband will be paid for."

Manasseh pointed out that many other competitor countries, such as South Korea or Australia, had committed far more public investment to broadband.

"However, the UK Government has committed only very modest public funds – far less than the previous Government. For example, £37bn of public money is being devoted to one high-speed rail link. Yet the Government is only devoting £530m to broadband projects, which are just as essential for the public good. Broadband is clearly the poor relation.

"Such a major infrastructure project will require public resources and an obligation on Ofcom, the regulator, to promote investment in the industry. The report ducks these essential questions and avoids any criticism of the failings of the government's approach of talking big but delivering small. It is a lost opportunity."

Prospect represents more than 16,000 professionals, managers and specialists working in IT and telecoms.